London Trading Standards deployment of tobacco sniffer dogs to combat the sale of illegal tobacco yielded another success this month.
Oho L.T Limited, which runs Oho Eastern and Local Food in Burdett Road, East London, was fined £10,000 at Thames Magistrates’ Court after being found guilty of breaching safety regulations relating to over 700 illegal cigarettes. The company was also ordered to pay the Council’s costs of over £3,000
The court heard that in April 2016 officers from Tower Hamlets Trading Standards inspected the store using specially trained tobacco sniffer dogs. Although the store appeared to be selling legitimate cigarettes, with UK health warnings on the packs, the dogs found a further stock of illegal products concealed in a wall panel behind the counter. These failed to comply with safety regulations as they were not labelled with English health warnings.
When sentencing the District Judge said that whilst the amount found was small “it was stock in trade and he had no doubt that once sold, this amount would be replaced with fresh stock.”
Councillor Shiria Khatun, cabinet member for community safety in Tower Hamlets said:
“The dishonesty in this case shows the lengths people will go to profit from illegal goods. A fine of £10,000 will hopefully make the shop owners and others think twice about committing offences like these.”
Steve Playle, spokes person for London Trading Standards said:
“This is a great example of the work that Trading Standards across London are putting into the fight against illicit tobacco. The trade in fake and duty evaded cigarettes really undermines the health objectives of high taxation and labelling rules. It also steals business away from honest hard working shop keepers”
“Another danger most smokers don’t realise is that illegal cigarettes could end up burning their homes down as they are not made to safety standards that reduce the chances of un-attended lit cigarettes starting a fire”.
- Watch London Trading Standards tobacco sniffer dogs in action here
- Read more about London Trading Standards campaign against illicit tobacco here
- Watch how quickly illicit cigarettes start a fire here
Anyone wishing to report the sale of illegal tobacco can use the London Trading Standards online report form.